We are pleased to welcome Professor Innes Cuthill from the University of Bristol as the new Reviews Editor of Proceedings B. Review articles continue to be a priority for the journal, with the aim of publishing high-quality articles that generate innovative ideas, constructive discussions and critiques of the field. As the journal serves a broad biological audience our Reviews have a wide reach, are freely available and continue to achieve good usage and are well cited. We recently asked Innes Cuthill a few questions about his background, experience and his new role.
How long have you been involved with Proceedings B?
The Reviews Editor role is my third incarnation in an editorial role for Proceedings B. I was previously an Associate Editor from 2007-9, and then served as an Editor from 2009 until starting as Reviews Editor in 2017. I was also one of the judges for the 2015 Royal Society Publishing Photography Competition.
What are your initial experiences as Reviews Editor?
It is already proving to be very interesting. The role means that I have to read outside the comfort zone of my own immediate research area and, because any decisions have not only to be the right ones for the journal but seen to be fair by the authors (and reviewers), that reading can’t be at a superficial level. My eyes get opened to new and exciting developments in areas of research that I would normally never encounter and, indeed, I develop contacts with researchers that I would never normally meet. Looking back on my longer editorial work for the journal, this has certainly made me a better writer, a more critical reader, more efficient and, I like to think, a better diplomat. My own research being strongly interdisciplinary certainly prepared me for acting as an editor across a broad range of research areas but now, as a Reviews Editor, I have the whole of biology to deal with. That’s daunting, but also a privilege.
Tell us more about your field of research?
My own first paper in Proceedings B, Mimicry and the eye of the beholder in 1993, signalled a change in the direction of my own research. I moved away from traditional behavioural ecology (foraging decisions, predation-starvation trade-offs, parental care) toward sensory ecology. Since then, Proceedings B has been very much my ‘core’ journal because understanding how animal coloration evolves in response to the perception and cognition of the viewer is a field that draws from perceptual psychology and visual physiology as well as behaviour, ecology and evolution. Proceedings B reaches that broad audience.
Any advice for researchers out there?
More manuscripts get rejected than accepted, and confronting the weaknesses (or even just the perceived weaknesses) in your own work can hurt. Lesson One for early career researchers: don’t confuse criticism of your work with criticism of you. On a more positive note, if, as you read this, you have the idea for a review that will challenge, provoke, and perhaps change the direction of your field, you should drop me a line.
Proceedings B is looking to publish more Review articles across all areas of the biological sciences. If you have an idea for a Review, we strongly encourage you to submit a proposal by completing our proposal template and sending it to the journal. More information about Reviews and the submission process can be found on our website. All published Reviews are made freely available online.